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Evidence Syrian government used chemical weapons, according to US

1:04 PM, Aug 30, 2013   |    comments
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Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the media during a meeting with Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni at the US State Department on May 17, 2013 in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
 PDF Document: White House report on Syria
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  • WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) --Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that the U.S. has evidence the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people, as the White House released a four-page report summarizing their case against the Bashar Assad regime.

    Kerry said the administration is releasing an intelligence report today laying out their evidence. Proving this allegation is considered a threshold that the U.S. would use to justify a potential military strike on that country.

    "I'm not asking you to take my word for it," Kerry said. "Read for yourselves the verdict reached by our intelligence community" that the government of Syria was responsible for the attack.

    The intelligence community believes with "high confidence" that Assad government used chemical weapons in Damascus suburbs based on human sources as well as intercepts of conversations by senior Syrian officials, according to the report and Kerry. Assad is the ultimate decision maker for the chemical weapons program, according to the report.

    With the release of the intelligence report and a telephone briefing for lawmakers on Thursday evening, the White House looked to bolster the case for taking action against Assad even as objections to a strike continue to mount in the U.S. and with the nation's closest ally, Britain, to taking military action.

    Obama was also given a bolt of international backing on Friday, when President François Hollande of France announced his support for international military action against the Syrian government.

    On Thursday, the British parliament voted to reject taking military action in Syria, even the government published an intelligence document that detailed how it concluded the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical attacks on the outskirts of Damascus last week.

    Obama still has not on announced whether he will take action for the Aug. 21 attack, which the U.S. government says killed 1,429, including more than 400 children.

    "The primary question is no longer what do we know," Kerry said. "It is what are we in the world going to do about it?"

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